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EDITIONS
Saturday, 25 May, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Deayton ridicule tops ratings
Ken Livingstone and Angus Deayton
Read all about it: Paul Merton taunts Deayton
BBC One's Have I Got News For You beat Big Brother 3's debut in the ratings on Friday, following claims about presenter Angus Deayton's private life.

A total of 7.5 million people watched Deayton squirm as co-stars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton ridiculed him after a Sunday tabloid claimed he had made love to a prostitute and took cocaine in a hotel.

Meanwhile, overnight figures also show Channel 4's Big Brother attracted 5.8 million viewers to watch 12 contestants start the surveillance game show's third series.

Angus Deayton
Squirming: Angus Deayton
Both programmes went head-to-head at 2100 BST on Friday evening.

Have I Got News For You usually attracts around 6.1 million viewers, and a BBC spokeswoman admitted it was "possible" the spectacle of the presenter being grilled about the episode could explain the ratings jump.

She added: "But it is a popular programme. It does normally do well. We're pleased it's up on its average figures.

"When a popular programme does well, we're always pleased."

At one stage, Merton also unzipped his top to reveal a T-shirt underneath emblazoned with the front page of the News of the World - the paper which broke the story about Deayton's alleged indiscretions - to the presenter's embarrassment.

Deayton mentioned the incident in his opening comments, saying: "Welcome to the show. This week's loser is... presenting it."

The 45-year-old, who has a baby with his long-term partner Lise Mayer, was said to have not realised the woman at the centre of the allegations, Caroline Martin, was a prostitute, and had simply "chatted her up", the News of the World claimed.

Brother record

Lynne
A record number of viewers watched Lynne enter Big Brother 3
But despite losing out to Have I Got News For You, Channel 4 is toasting its highest ratings of the year so far with Big Brother's debut.

The figures are also the highest ever for a Big Brother debut, as last year's opening show attracted just 3.5 million viewers.

Its pay-TV offshoot E4 registered a peak of 1.3 million viewers for live coverage from the Big Brother house - the highest ever figure in the channel's history, and almost doubling last year's figure.

A Channel 4 statement said the figures proved the "enduring popularity" of the Big Brother format.

The figures for both programmes are unofficial overnight figures, and do not include those who recorded the shows for later viewing.


Angus Deayton, given a hard time in tonight's Have I Got News For YouOdd one out?
The inside track on Deayton's mauling

Launch the Gallery

The Big Brother 12


See also:

23 May 02 | Entertainment
20 May 02 | Entertainment
24 May 02 | UK
24 May 02 | Entertainment
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